DENVER (AP) — An appeals court ordered a new trial for a Denver woman convicted in a 2009 drunken-driving crash that killed two Connecticut librarians.
The Colorado Court of Appeals ruled Thursday the trial judge should have asked jurors whether they saw news reports during the trial about defendant Sandra Jacobson's previous convictions, including one for drunken driving.
Jacobson's lawyers asked the judge to question jurors about the reports, but he declined, saying he had already instructed them not to watch or read any news about the case.
The appeals court said the information was potentially prejudicial and the judge should have queried the jurors.
Kate McClelland, 71, and Kathleen Krasniewicz, 54, both of Greenwich, Connecticut, were killed in the January 2009 crash.
Jacobson was convicted in 2010 of vehicular homicide, assault, drunken driving and leaving the scene of an accident. She was sentenced to 36 years in prison.
No new trial date has been set.
McClelland and Krasniewicz were taking a taxi to Denver International Airport to return home after a conference when Jacobson's vehicle collided with the taxi on a highway leading to the airport.
The taxi rolled, ejecting the two women. The cab driver survived with injuries.
Jacobson was driving 85 mph and her blood-alcohol level was twice the legal limit several hours after the crash, investigators said.
Jacobson told them she was not aware of the crash and continued driving to the airport to ship a dog, investigators said. Her attorney said she drank a mix of schnapps and water after she got to the airport.
The attorney told jurors the cab driver was responsible for the collision and that the women weren't wearing seat belts. The cab driver denied causing the crash.